Missouri City, Texas
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You had documentation, Incidentally, SEA service on a DD 214 is NOT proof of boots on the ground as that also applies to service in Thailand. A veteran has to have documentation of actual "service" (which may simply be stopping for an hour on an airline flight to Thailand) in South Vietnam to be presumptive exposure to herbicides.
I never received any of those medals, but they were put on my military personnel file. The only medals I ever actually received were the Air Medal, DFC and Combat Readiness Medal. (I had to ask for the Air Medal after I got the certificate in my vertical file.) As for Vietnam veteran status, the DOD had me in their data base because I was given credit for more than 365 days in country - TDYs from Pope, Naha and Clark. I also got it from the VA because I reenlisted the first time at Cam Ranh and it's in my second DD 214.
SamMcGowan replied to SamMcGowan's topic in VA BenefitsUpdate - I finally was able to get through to the VA and also signed up with the DAV for a VSO. In March 2016 I had a "hearing" with a VA rep that lasted about 5 minutes. They at least sent me to a VA neurologist for a new C&P evaluation. She decided the neuropathy in my legs is moderate and mild in my arms. The VA upgraded me to 60%. A couple of weeks ago I got a letter awarding me Unemployability. The appeals are still on-going. I filed them in 2012 and asked for a board hearing in 2014. At least I'm not getting 100% pay - and Texas doesn't require disabled vets being paid at 100% to pay property taxes. That's all good news. We'll see what happens with the appeals. I should be at least at 70-80% and possibly 100%.
Boots on the Ground
SamMcGowan replied to johnecks's topic in VA BenefitsCheck his Airman's Performance Report and see if it mentions service in South Vietnam. VA requires the veteran to provide proof of boots on the ground.
VA's New Rules on Agent Orange
SamMcGowan replied to Metalbasher's topic in VA BenefitsVA awards go to the date the claim was filed, period.
Hearing loss and rigging in ears experience with VA
SamMcGowan replied to BRlang's topic in VA BenefitsI was diagnosed with hearing loss decades ago and filed a claim with the VA when I started going to the VA for medical treatment in early 2011. They awarded me 10% for tinnitus and 0% for hearing loss. Recently, my DAV VSO insisted I have my hearing checked again and file a new claim. I did and more loss was detected. The DAV filed a claim for me and the VA said my rating will remain at 0%. I've been wearing VA-provided hearing aids since 2011.
SamMcGowan replied to SamMcGowan's topic in C-130 Community Announcements & PromotionsI just got word from Howard Worthy that he has some Blind Bat paraphernalia that Ralph's widow Marianne gave him. Howard was planning to take them to the TC/TAA reunion in October and put them out for people to take but his wife is seriously ill and he doubts that he'll be able to go. I don't know what he has. Howard and Ralph were both in the 21st in E Flight. Ralph was an avionics tech and flew as a flare kicker on some of the early missions. He was very active with Blind Bat veterans and hosted the first BB reunion in 2002. If you're interested, Email me at [email protected] and I'll put you in touch with Howard.
SamMcGowan replied to SamMcGowan's topic in C-130 Community Announcements & PromotionsI've written a few more since these, and I've put these two out in 6 X 9 format,
www.sammcgowan.com/meyers.html. This link is to the USAF accident report of the Meyers incident. I think I mentioned it on here before but Bob Patterson told me in 2012 that he personally briefed TAC commander Gen. W.W. Momyer on the incident. Bob believes Meyer passed out from hypoxia. As for him being headed anywhere, this more a myth than anything, He actually meandered all over England for TWO HOURS and was in and out of thunderstorms. The man was drunk as a skunk and probably had no idea what he was doing when he took the airplane off.
I started out at Pope in MX in December 1963. USAF had prohibited anyone but pilots from taxiing ANY airplane with more than two engines. I believe a pilot could taxi with an engineer (but remember that a pilot and engineer was the published minimum crew for emergency operations.)
Acft Tail Codes
SamMcGowan replied to DustyRhodes's topic in C-130 HistoricalNo, they didn't Sonny. I took this picture at CRB around May-June 1967 - no tail code. I don't recall ever seeing an airplane with a tail code at Naha - I left in July 1967. However, Gary Peters sent me some pictures he took on COMMANDO LAVA in July and his wingman has brand new paint with a tail code.
Info Needed 56-0512
SamMcGowan replied to 118th AES Retired's topic in C-130 HistoricalSonny, by the time you got to Naha, the flare mission had been going on for more than three years. I took this photo in the spring of 1966, I can't say for certain since it might be shadow, but some of those airplanes appear to have black bellies. The paint on the airplanes was different, depending on where they had been painted. Some were painted in the States when they went on IRAN and some were painted at Gifu, Japan. I left Naha in July-early August 1967.
Commando Vault and the BLU-82
SamMcGowan replied to Spectre623's topic in C-130 HistoricalTo the best of my knowledge, the first M-121 dropped in SEA was dropped by Major Bob Archer's crew from the 29th TAS. Archer was project officer. The test program was COMBAT TRAP and the operational mission was COMMANDO VAULT. COMMANDO VAULT commenced in early 1969. There were at least a dozen bombs dropped under COMBAT TRAP. Below is the first bomb crew - Bob Archer, Jon O'Donnell, Davy Dawson, Chick Anderson, Mike Huzinko. (Names are in reverse order.) There was no doubt a second loadmaster with them who is not pictured. I believe this photo was taken prior to the first bomb drop. Howie Seaboldt gave it to me just before he died. Archer gave it to him. Archer is still alive and well in Florida. FYI, I only know of one mission when we dropped on an enemy base camp and it was the first mission I flew. I was in country with a 774th crew with MacArthur Rutherford checking me out. The FAC gave us a BDA of 100 KIA. That's the only time I heard a BDA, maybe because the pilots didn't ask for one.
Silver Birds out of Naha
SamMcGowan replied to j miller's topic in C-130 HistoricalPrior to 1966 all Naha C-130s were silver or gray (corrosion paint.) The Air Force began camouflaging all tactical airplanes, including C-130s. In 1961 JFK authorized the use of USAF C-130s for resupply missions to and within Laos and E Flight was established at Naha in the 21st TCS to maintain the airplanes and provide instructor crews. When the camouflaging took place, the four airplanes were left unpainted so the CIA could continue to claim the unmarked airplanes (all markings were removed when they were baled to the CIA) were not U.S. airplanes.
SamMcGowan replied to MHeflin's topic in C-130 HistoricalThe answer to this is very simple - The United States officially withdrew from South Vietnam in March 1973. The evacuation of Saigon and the Mayaguez Incident occurred over two years later. There was a C-130 lost at Tan Son Nhut during the final days of the war but because the US was no longer an active participant, it's not on the database of aircraft lost during the war. Neither is the C-5 that crashed outside Saigon.